Getting Calls From a “Google Specialist”?

telephone

“Hello, this is Sharon your local Google specialist . . .”  Not Again!

If you’re like most business owners you get (or your office gets) tons of solicitation phone calls.  None are quite so annoying to me as the recorded calls from “Sharon, your local Google specialist” who promises that she can put me on page one of Google.  You’ve probably received enough of those phone calls that you can actually still hear her voice when I mention her name.

Don’t Fall Into the Trap!

Unfortunately, some unsuspecting and trusting business owners fall into the trap.  Their services are not terribly expensive (around $200 per month) so it may seem like a reasonable deal especially if you’re thinking that they can actually deliver on their guarantee to put you on the first page of Google. But you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.  You’ll get more results by stapling your business card to 200 one-dollar bills and dropping them into the street from the nearest tall building.

Here’s How it Works (thanks to Michael Johnston)

Here is a detailed explanation from a colleague, Michael Johnston.  He actually took the time to go through their entire sales pitch, and like many of us in this business he knows what it takes to REALLY deliver on that promise.  Michael’s comments follow:

I am a curious person by nature and I guess that is what makes me always want to do research. Today I got another call from my “This is ‘X’ checking on your Google listings. We will guarantee you front page placement on Google search” friends. So I took the time to be pre-qualified for their opportunity and then listened to the pitch from their account manager. Hey, they called ME so any intelligence gathering I do in that situation is perfectly fine in my book…

I was curious about how they could make that claim in an even remotely realistic way so I figured I would see what they offered. After all, there are so many variables that go into how Google determines the best answer for every search query that to guarantee search engine rank position is impossible. So right off the bat they were making seemingly impossible claims but until I understood what it was they were offering I couldn’t be sure.

In addition I wanted to see how they intended to make good on their claims. After all, I do essentially the same thing for a living but with a difference. I know what it really takes to get on the first page of Google and how much work and time is involved. Some consider me something of an expert on the topic.

Can they REALLY Guarantee First Page Ranking?  In a Word . . . NO!

I also wanted to see if there was any validity at all in their claims so I could make sure it was not just another simply fraudulent scheme to bilk unwary business owners out of some money. If it was indeed something that they might be able to pull off then I wanted to know how they proposed to do it and how much it was going to cost.

“Register” Keywords With Google? No Such Thing!

They told me they would “register 10 keywords with Google for me so that I was guaranteed front page placement every time someone did a search for my type of business”. That was interesting because I know of no process whereby you can register/claim keywords with Google or any other search engine. If they are professionals they should know better than to say it that way.

I asked him if he meant they would use advertising to promote my business. Adwords (Google advertising) does let you run ads by bidding on specific keywords that are related to your ads. If you bid high enough to beat all of the other people competing for that keyword and your ad quality score is high enough then yes, technically you can buy a spot in the advertising section of Google search results. But again, there are a lot of variables and I would never tell a business I could guarantee them top search placement because of that.

He said, no it wasn’t advertising, it was purely organic results. He said there were 1,900 searches per month in my area for my type of business and that his company only works with one company of each type within a radius that would be the equivalent of about an hours drive from my location and if I wanted to make sure that I was that special company I would have to act quickly.

Some Half-Truths and Some Lies

The funny part was that he obviously had no idea what type of business I was in. Plus I know that there are not 1,900 searches for top keywords related to by business within an hour’s drive of my location. That is easy information for anyone to get using the free Google Keyword Planning Tool (recently moved inside the Adwords platform) or Google Trends. If you have a lot of videos you can also use the YouTube Keyword Tool.

Finally, he said there are many directories on the web that can rank your business well in search results. Now I understood what the real product was they were selling.

What They’re Actually Selling is Directory Listings. Anyone Can Get Those for Free!

What it comes down to is they charge a $99 setup fee and then $159 per month to simply create local web directory listings for you. They said you don’t even need a website so I asked how they could do that and they said it is all based on your Google+ (Places) page (I knew that but was just checking).

Ah-HA! That is certainly simple enough but depending on the competition it doesn’t guarantee you the front page of Google search results locally and definitely not on a regional or national level. Web directories are however a great resource for businesses. There are literally hundreds of them out there and nearly all of them will give you a listing for free.

Because most directories have well established sites they rank well in search results so your listing on those directories have a good likelihood of appearing on the first page of search results. Of course this likelihood is modified by many factors such as how many competitors are in your area, how well you have worded your listing title and description (a subject for another article) and how many of them are also using the same directories as you are. They are free to everyone after all.

If You Want to Pay More, You Can Get Some Really Bad SEO!

Then the account manager that I was talking to from the telemarketing company said there were many other ways they could create content using my G+ URL that would boost my ranking in search results.

Like SEO or something (I asked innocently)? Do you write blog posts or something?

He said they did that and more and for only another $99 setup fee I could get their premium package and get listed on Bing Places For Business, Yahoo Local and social networks too. Another $99 for 15 minutes of work?

So that is the pitch they made and the service they offer. Vaguely inferring that they work for or are Google was their first deceptive tactic. That was followed by big claims with little information for the consumer and what they do give is pretty skewed and grossly inflated and partially a flat out lie. It might sound great to those who do not know any better but that is all it is, a cheap way to hustle the “Yokels”.

A Better and More Reliable Alternative

There are much better alternatives available to you from companies who will take the time to do things right and let you know exactly how they are spending your money and the results of their efforts.

Optimizing and promoting your web presence is a complex job. Doing it right involves far more than just creating local directory listings. A well crafted digital marketing plan should be just that, a plan. It should include optimizing your website, blog posts, images, videos and even your social networks to Google “best practices”. It should also include a plan for the creation and distribution of content that is related to your business on a regular basis. It will very likely also include some advertising to promote your business to your ideal market demographic.

I’ve edited this for length and some content (I added some headlines).  You can read his entire article here: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140425222949-347294–we-guarrantee-you-front-page-of-google-search-really-not-so-much

Bottom Line?

The bottom line here can be summed up in a centuries old truth:  If it sounds to good to be true, it is too good to be true.  Don’t fall for it.  You’ll be much better off talking to a local professional.  Of course it will be more expensive, but you’ll actually get some results!  Isn’t that what you’re paying for in the first place?  I thought so.

22 Responses to “Getting Calls From a “Google Specialist”?”

  1. George Klass

    I am a regular citizen, NOT a business. Unfortunately, the phone number I was assigned 6 years ago was formerly that of a company that cleaned Sports Equipment ( no longer in business). How can I stop these calls from “Sharon”? Pressing “2” doesn’t do it!

    Reply
      • Ray Sharradh

        It doesn’t do any good. I’m on the federal do not call list and I’m still barraged by these stupid robo-calls.

        Reply
        • Pelle

          Yep same here. have filed multiple complaints with the FCC, still get callls about once-twice a month … i don’t even have a company to put on a frontpage

          Reply
      • Dranon

        Do NOT sign up for the federal do not call registry. Here is why. Legitimate companies subscribe to this list so that they do not get sued. ILLEGITIMATE companies subscribe to this list to get REAL PHONE NUMBERS!!!! This is how they can call you AND know your name.

        Reply
      • joe

        The best way to deal with these guys is to play along for as long as you can and waste there time like they waste yours! Trust me it drives them nuts… at the end of the call tell the poor sap the company he works for is a scam and to have some self respect and just stand up right now and walk out. Tomorrow get yourself a real self respecting job that your family can be proud of.

        Reply
  2. Juliana

    Thanks for posting this. Good to hear the truth from a REAL SEO person.

    This ‘company’ really needs to be stopped. But how? My idea was to call them at 1 (888) 513-7746 and say “This is Juliana, your local Google specialist…” I wish 1000 people a day could do the same…

    Reply
    • Samuel

      Thank you. I can now bet that there will be a more honest person in this company to tell you that these calls that are claiming to be a “Google Specialist” is really a SCAM and that their Google Security Officers are aware of it! YES! THIS MEANS WE DO NOT HAVE TO PICK UP THESE CALLS. IF THAT SAME 805-408-8107 NUMBER THAT THIS PRERECORDED MESSAGE IS PROVIDING YOU WITH ALONG WITH IT BEING TITLED “VENTURA CENTRAL”, THEIR REAL WORKING NUMBER TO CALL THEM BACK WITH IS 1-888-513-7746 AND TELL THE HOW RUDE AND ANNOYING THESE KINDS OF AUTOMATED CALLS HAVE BEEN ESPECIALLY WHEN IT TELLS YOU TO PRESS A CERTAIN NUMBER TO SEE IF YOU QUALIFY OR TO BE ADDED TO THEIR DO NOT CALL LIST! IF ANYONE IS GETTING THESE KINDS OF RUDE AND ANNOYING CALLS, CALLING 1-888-513-7746 WILL GET A REAL PERSON TO SPEAK TO AND TELL THEM HOW WE FEEL ABOUT THESE AUTOMATED ROBOCALLS!

      Reply
    • Samuel

      Nobody needs to be tormented with these calls anymore! Voice message or no voice message, i’m not picking up my landline whenever this number appears and neither are my parents! If anyone is getting harassed by this call, their real working number to call them back with is 1-888-513-7746 and tell them that this unlawful activity needs to be stopped!

      Reply
  3. Gurmander S. Kohli MD, FACS

    It sounds too good to be true and therefore it is not true. I have also received these calls and I would have fallen into “The Google Specialist” had I not read your article above.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  4. Mitt Ryan

    These calls are disgusting and shame on Google to resort to such scams. Google is one of the well known reputed company and no one expects such degradation from them. Some deranged clown may have come up with a perverted marketing program and they implemented. I hope Google gets out of this scam, deport the person who came up with this marketing program to a country he/she could never return to the US.

    Reply
    • Craig Mecham

      It’s not Google who is doing the calling. It is someone who is claiming to be a “your local Google specialist”. They are NOT local and they are NOT a specialist and they are NOT Google. You certainly have a right to be annoyed, but not at Google. I’m sure they would like this to stop just as much as you.

      Reply
      • StevenH

        That’s just it… they aren’t actually lying. I’m a Google Adwords Specialist… I know because that is what Google calls me every two years when I pass their tests. So, I can tell people I am a Google Specialist, and as for being local, that’s really just a frame of mind. EVERYONE is local on the web.

        The bogus thing is that cull phone numbers from the web and then start spamming. THAT is illegal, especially when all of my numbers are on the NO-CALL list. So these dirt wads don’t even bother to know if they are legally calling or not.

        Reply
  5. java329

    Three calls within 2 hours….at work!! Once I asked for their information (name, company name & phone number) there was a pause on the line then ‘click’ hang-up. I should also add I told him that I was convinced this was a scam and I would like to report them.

    Reply
  6. sarah

    Ugh I get a million calls from them daily. Usually I just hang up but about five times I have pressed two to stop them, and another four or five times have asked the people once you press one to take me off their call list. To no avail… The last one told me “Well I guess you just want people searching for your business (clearly had no idea what my business is) to find you competition!” This was after several attempts at asking her to take me off the list, she finally said fine and hung up on me. Going to start messing with them now… its insanely rude for them to continue to call after repeatedly asking to be taken off the list!

    Reply
    • Pam

      The worst thing you can do is keep them (the live person) on the phone as long as you can and then deny them the sale. Their goal is to move on to the next rube as quickly as possible. I do the same thing to the toner phoners who are “sending out the new catalog and just need to know the model number of my machine.” I tell them “Sure. Just one minute, I’ll get that for you.” I leave them on hold for 1 minute and come back and say “Thanks for holding. Oh yes, I got busy there for a second. I’ll go get that now.” The longest I’ve ever kept them on my phone is 4 minutes.

      Reply
  7. Diane

    Craig,
    Thanks for this post. I have received repeated calls from the “Google Specialist” on behalf of two clients I represent, and the telemarketer (not a “Google specialist” I spoke with the first time was extremely rude when I questioned how he was affiliated with Google. I am now filing a formal complaint with the FTC and letting Google know that they are being misrepresented.

    Reply
  8. StevenH

    This place is relentless! Sharon the bot has been autodialing me for years, and from numerous cloaked numbers from all over the country. Someone should DoS this company!

    Reply
  9. John

    For these kinds of calls I have a air horn handy that I let loose on the CSR. Even through a phone line this is quite loud. Revenge is sweet.

    Reply
  10. Larry B

    I get 5 calls a day from Sharon. She calls from different Caller ID numbers each day so I can’t block her. I pushed the #2 to talk to someone and asked them 100 times to stop calling me but it does no good.
    Where are these people located?
    What is the name of the company so I can file a complaint with the Attorney General?
    Does anybody have an address for them?
    Is there a person in charge so that we can file a complaint?
    Or better yet have their home phone so we can all call every day to curse at them?

    Reply

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